Book Review: Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks

Posted June 29, 2022 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Berkley on January 17, 2009
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Unbinding, Mind Magic, Dragon Spawn, Dragon Blood, "Good Counsel", "Cyncerely Yours", "The New Kid", "Brownies", Tempting Danger, Mortal Danger, Blood Lines, Night Season, Blood Magic, Blood Challenge, "Human Nature"

Fifth in the World of the Lupi paranormal fantasy series and revolving around the lupi, werewolves who have recently come out. The couple focus is on Agent Lily Yu and Rule Turner, the Nokolai “prince”.

In 2010, Mortal Sins was nominated for the RITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Paranormal Romance.

My Take

Wilks does a nice job of showing us the wolf’s perspective on things — and Rule is really good with his son, in helping him to understand the differences between himself and his wolf as well as helping him to come to his own conclusions. The best way for the lessons to sink in!

Wilks uses third person global subjective point-of-view with Lily, Rule, and Toby as the primary perspectives in this combination of cozy and police/magic investigation.

There’s a nice bit of back history on why the Nokolai came to California. Cullen also drops the secret of the Etorri not getting cancer!

Oooh, talk about prejudice! Humans do not like lupi, and it colors how people speak to, of, and treat them. It’s a sad metaphor for how Blacks are treated. Although, I did find the sheriff’s accusation of bigotry hypocritical!

That bigotry isn’t the only conflict in the series, there’s also the mate bond that forces Lily and Rule to stay close to each other. It’s a distance that changes every once in awhile, and it keeps them both on their toes while adding conflict.

That’s the series conflicts. As for Mortal Sins‘ conflicts, oy. Wilks definitely keeps things interesting with Talia’s problems and her parents, Toby’s frustrations with his mother, his MOTHER and her stupidity and selfishness, Louise’s own conflicts, the murderous It, Rule’s issues with the Leidolf, the cop vs FBI vs lupi interactions, and on and on. Mortal Sins is not boring. Nope, not at all *grinning*.

I do adore Cullen, lol. He’s got an overabundance of snark and uses it well, breaking rules with wild abandon. His phone conversations with Cynna keep me laughing! Then he turns around and is so compassionate with Talia’s issues, and he’s very scientific on the magic. Yep, you can bring science into the magic. Ya gotta love him!

Lily. I adore her even more. She may be tiny, but she stands up well, lolololol. Wait’ll you read her putdown of Crystal, *more laughter*.

Mortal Sins is all about child custody and Rule’s excitement and fears about being a full-time father. Lily also worries.

There’s a lot of hairsplitting that goes on. Primarily for Rule as he juggles his responsibilities and loyalties while holding two mantles. Luckily, Alicia doesn’t do hairsplitting. She’s all about herself. And the more you read about her, the more you’ll hate her.

The bad guy is so creepy and Wilks keeps its identity and needs vague, making the story even creepier while Lily and everyone else tries to figure out who (or what) it is. I found myself wanting to scream out to the characters to beware! Reading of The Voice is almost creepier, as it makes you wonder what could be so much stronger than this cold presence. I know I felt cold whenever I read its thoughts!

The prose is an easy read with a story that’s both action- and character-packed with plenty of laughs. Not all the laughs are good ones . . .

Good question. Why would ghosts be afraid?

The Story

Rule Turner, Lu Nuncio of the Nokolai werewolf clan, and his lover, Lily Yu, have come to North Carolina to gain full custody of Rule’s young son. It’s a personal visit. In and out. Until Rule discovers three bodies in a forest grave, covered in death magic.

That magic makes it a federal crime, and FBI Agent Lily Yu is right there. Only, nothing adds up. Especially with the main suspect behind bars when death strikes again.

But murder, however bizarre, is an everyday affair for Lily, who was a homicide cop before being recruited into the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division. A more personal shock arrives in the form of Rule’s son’s mother. Why would she now challenge Rule’s plan to bring his son to live among the Nokolai? But family matters must take a backseat when the violence escalates, and there’s no rhyme or reason for the next strike — by a killer who may not even be of this world.

The Characters

Lily Yu is an FBI agent who is a touch sensitive and immune to magic; she’s also the Chosen of Rule Turner. Dirty Harry is Lily’s cat. Other-Lily is the half from whom she was split in Mortal Danger, 2.

Rule Turner is the Lu Nuncio for his clan, the Nokolai, as well as his father’s heir.
Toby is Rule’s nine-year-old son who lives with his maternal grandmother, Louise Asteglio, a.k.a. Grammy, in Halo, North Carolina. Connie Milligan is Louise’s next-door neighbor and her best friend. Old Franklin Hodge is another neighbor, a grouchy one, whose wife, Maisie, had died. Justin and Talia Appleton are best friends with Toby. Aunt Sherri is always telling the Appletons’ mom that the reverend is full of beans. The so-selfish Alicia Asteglio is Louise’s daughter and Toby’s absent mother. James French is Alicia’s new husband. Uncle Mark and Aunt Deirdre had come to help Louise.

The gorgeous Cullen Seabourne had been a lone lupus, thrown out of the Etorri clan, and later adopted into Nokolai. He’s a friend of Rule’s, a former stripper, and a sorcerer. The pregnant Cynna is his wife as well as an FBI agent who has a Finder Gift.

The Nokolai are . . .
. . . a lupi clan based outside San Diego. Isen Turner is Rule’s father and the clan’s Rho. Benedict is Rule’s older brother and the head of security for Nokolai. Mick had been another brother we met in Tempting Danger, 1. Dr Nettie Two Horses is Benedict’s daughter and a healer with a medical degree.

The Leidolf are . . .
. . . a lupi clan based in North Carolina and sworn enemies of the Nokolai. Victor Frey is their ailing Rho and Rule holds the heir’s portion of their mantle. Yep, it makes for some interesting questions. Alex Thibideux is Lu Nuncio with a degree in sociology.

Halo, North Carolina
Sheriff Jay Deacon with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Department has an empathy gift and is not happy that the FBI is tramping around on his turf. His men include Deputy Bingham and Corporal Sanchez, Matheson, and Hemmings who are guards. Edna is Deacon’s secretary. Marcia Farquhar is the district attorney; Mark is her husband. She’s also Crystal’s godmother. Dr Stanfield is the conspiracy veterinarian who couldn’t wait to contact the press. He’s also the head of the local SPCA.

Roy Don Meacham is/was married to Becky née Nordstrom. Andrew was their son. Bill Watkins is a postman. Bethany White has a handicapped daughter. Crystal Kessenblaum, a wanna-be hippie, is Roy Don’s attorney. Charley is Crystal’s deceased brother. Mandy Ann is their mother. Mr Peters teaches math. Coach Tom. Pritchard Memorial is the local hospital. Dr Patel, who has a minor Finding Gift, is a cardiologist. Bessie is one of two sisters who bitch at Lily. The Reverend Barnes is one of those hellfire preachers. Marjorie Aibgail Deacon is Deacon’s sweetheart of a grandmother who is also a medium. Harold is the husband who died seven months ago.

Ed Eames is a reporter with AP. Miriam is with the Washington Post. The obnoxious Jimmy Bassinger is with Global. Joe is a cameraman.

Magical Crimes Division (MCD), FBI
Lily works for Unit 12 in the MCD under Ruben Brooks. Ida Rheinhart is Ruben’s secretary and the terror of every agent in the Unit. Abel Karonski is a Wiccan agent. Georgetown University Hospital is the only possibility to hold the possessed.

Agent Nathan Brown is local FBI with twenty-two years on the job — and he doesn’t like Lily. Agent Mirabelle Brown, a.k.a. Brown Two. Dr Alderson is an FBI veterinarian. Agent Jacobs has ten years with the Bureau.

Sam is the leader of the dragons who came to earth in Mortal Danger. The Dragon Accords are a treaty whereby the dragons aid the world with their presence. Gan is the orange demon who precipitated events in Mortal Danger. The Turning was an event that cracked open nodes that spilled a tsunami of raw magic into the earth, disrupting technology. Dis is what we call hell. Sherry is the head of a coven whose testimony is accepted by the courts. Thérèse is a mambo priestess friend of Cynna’s.

The Lady is the “goddess” of the lupi. A Chosen is a woman the Lady chooses for one of the lupi, who are all male. Terra tradis is a protected location where young lupi approaching First Change live until they can control their wolves. Each clan has a mantle that’s mostly carried by the Rho; it helps keep the wolves of that clan steady. Gado, a.k.a. gadolinium, is a rare earth element used to drug lupi into being unable to change. John retired from the CDC.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of electric greens with a frame of twisting branches creating a roundish shape in the middle of a barebacked, black-haired Lily in jeans fighting against the forest. At the top is a rectangle of pale green showcasing the artist’s name and an info blurb in black. To the left of Lily’s shoulders is a testimonial in white. Below Lily is the title in the same green as the box background above. I gotta say, Lily would not be barebacked like this. It’s not in her character.

The title reflects the black magic used, the Mortal Sins that create mayhem.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks

  1. This sounds pretty good. I like the idea of werewolves being out and how society would react to that. Imagining a world where urban fantasy tropes are real is fun. 🙂

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